Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: After two-and-a-half seasons, Laurence Fishburne is leaving CSI. The Oscar-nominated actor’s deal on the show was up and he opted not to renew it. He is expected to return to features full-time. It was a major coup for CBS to land Fishburne as a successor to original star William Petersen who left the series in December 2008. But when he last renewed his contract for CSI last May, Fishburne only did it for one season. After ten-and-a-half seasons as CBS’ Thursday 9 PM anchor, CSI is moving to Wednesday 10 PM this fall. I hear CBS and the veteran crime drama’s producers were not surprised by Fishburne’s decision. “Nobody expected him to be on the show for 7 years, it’s Laurence Fishburne,” one insider said. Fishburne will next be seen in Steven Soderbergh’s thriller Contagion. With Fishburne gone and Marg Helgenberger only returning part-time, CSI is in a similar position to another veteran crime procedural, Law & Order: SVU where Chris Meloni left and Mariska Hargitay is coming back but not full-time.

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